- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Scribner Book Company; Reprint edition (April 4, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501173219
- ISBN-13: 978-1501173219
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 458 g
- Customer reviews: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
All the Light We Cannot See Paperback – 4 April 2017
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"Exquisite...Mesmerizing...Nothing short of brilliant."--Alice Evans "Portland Oregonian "
"Hauntingly beautiful."--Janet Maslin "The New York Times "
"History intertwines with irresistible fiction--secret radio broadcasts, a cursed diamond, a soldier's deepest doubts--into a richly compelling, bittersweet package."--Mary Pols "People (3 1/2 stars) "
"Anthony Doerr again takes language beyond mortal limits."--Elissa Schappell "Vanity Fair "
"Enthrallingly told, beautifully written...Every piece of back story reveals information that charges the emerging narrative with significance, until at last the puzzle-box of the plot slides open to reveal the treasure hidden inside."--Amanda Vaill "Washington Post "
"Stupendous...A beautiful, daring, heartbreaking, oddly joyous novel."--David Laskin "The Seattle Times "
"Dazzling...Startlingly fresh."--John Freeman "The Boston Globe "
"Gorgeous... moves with the pace of a thriller... Doerr imagines the unseen grace, the unseen light that, occasionally, surprisingly, breaks to the surface even in the worst of times."--Dan Cryer "San Francisco Chronicle "
"Incandescent...Mellifluous and unhurried...Characters as noble as they are enthralling. Doerr looms myriad strains into a luminous work of strife and transcendence."--Hamilton Cain "O, the Oprah magazine "
"Perfectly captured...Doerr writes sentences that are clear-eyed, taut, sweetly lyrical."--Josh Cook "Minneapolis Star Tribune "
About the Author
Anthony Doerr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See. He is also the author of two story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won four O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
But all that said, I didn't find it enjoyable to read.
It took a while to figure out why. Even while reading it I'm thinking to myself "This is so good", but at the same time wondering why I'm bored and looking forward to the next book.
Finally I think I nailed it. Nothing really happens. It's all set in amongst the background of a lot happening, but other than hearing about it, there's not much that really goes on with the characters that so much time has been spent making us love.
This feels like all the parts of a fantastic book that happen BETWEEN the major plot points.
I spent the majority of this book waiting for something to happen, and when it doesn't it feels like there no payoff for the time invested in these characters.
Maybe this is what literary fiction is about. I can see why people may like it. It's life through the eyes of others.
But books are a form of entertainment. This wasn't entertaining to me, and I couldn't wait to start a new book.
For one thing, Doerr’s verbs nail the action in arresting ways. Bombers “shed” altitude. Pigeons “cataract” down a cathedral spire and “wheel out” over the sea. Teacups “drift” off shelves, and paintings “slip” off nails. Dread “trundles” up from the blind girl’s gut. Car horns “bleat.” Snowflakes “tick and patter” through trees.
This prose begs to be read aloud or at least heard by your inner ear. Consider these snippets:
“…the low moonlit lumps of islands ranged along the horizon.” (Oh, the consonance—all those lush l’s, not to mention the two soft m’s woven in: “moonlit lumps”!)
“…the last unevacuated townspeople wake, groan, sigh. Spinsters, prostitutes, men over sixty. Procrastinators, collaborators, disbelievers, drunks. Nuns of every order. The poor. The stubborn. The blind.” (Oh, the rhythm—you can practically see the conductor’s baton twitching to the beat of “wake, groan, sigh.” My toe is tapping at the next line: “Spinsters, prostitutes, men over sixty.” I’m clapping along as if to a jumprope chant by the time we get to “Procrastinators, collaborators, disbelievers, drunks. Nuns of very order…”)
”…each storm drain, park bench, and hydrant…” (Each DAAH-dum, DAAH-dum, and DA-dum!)
“Cold fog hangs in the budding trees.” (Each of the first three words—“Cold” and “fog” and “hangs”—takes a full beat, slowing the sentence down, defying forward movement. It’s as if these three words themselves are hanging there—BOM BOM BOM—in the budding trees.)
No wonder this novel took me so long to read. I read it for the poetry.
Whether or not you read for this singular kind of pleasure, you’ll find this story a timely reminder of humanity during a time of inhumanity.
And you’ll write more masterfully for reading it.
Call me old-fashioned, but I used to love browsing bookstores in person, and the rise of the internet has made it all too easy to find and purchase subpar (albeit popular) books. There are so many entertainment alternatives that many truly great stories go under the radar...until it's announced that they'll be made into a movie (in fact, many read like screenplays, as if the author anticipates that's where the paycheck is). And yes, the characters and the interwoven storyline and the dramatic WWII backdrop could make for a blockbuster hit.
But. This is a book you really should read, and relish. (I read this on my kindle and hid the progress percentage because I didn't want it to end.) Doerr writes with absolutely beautiful imagery. It's emotional and vivid and earnest. A wonderful reminder that books were written to provide a unique insight into how others think, and feel, and live, and love.